I will cover the accomplishments of the 2022 legislative session in 2 parts, first this week and then next week. The legislative session for 2022 ended on May 24th. It was a productive session and some of the issues on which I have campaigned and worked, made significant and in some cases, historic, progress! I hope you can see that, even though work remains for us to do, promises were kept and that we did some of what we said we were going to do and what we were elected to do.
Budget, Taxes, and Jobs
When I campaigned for office I said I would work for: fiscal responsibility and a balanced budget, lower taxes, and an economic climate favorable to more and better job and career opportunities
What we did:
Balanced the Budget: We passed a conservative budget that puts taxpayers first as we have done for the past 10 years, one that spends $8.2 billion, close to last year’s budget. This is a fiscally responsible budget that fills the emergency reserve funds to their required levels while leaving a healthy ending balance which allows us to be able to respond to unexpected expenses or shortfalls. At the same time, we made sure the essential priority functions of state government were funded, like education, the workforce initiatives, Medicaid, and public safety and our court system. This year we were able to put some additional needed funding towards our courts, home and community-based services for direct care workers, adult & children’s mental health, and child & family services. Basically, we are managing the budget the same as you have to do in your home or business.
Income Tax Reform: Largest ever Iowa tax cut! Gets rid of tax brackets and reduces individual income tax over 4 years for all Iowans to a fair and flat rate of 3.9%. Exempts all retirement income from taxes and includes an exemption for cash rent for retired farmers. Makes the corporate tax rate more competitive and reduces corporate tax credits.
Unemployment Insurance Reform: Incentivizes unemployed to return to work sooner. Lowers unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 16 weeks. Those required to search for employment will receive a decreased amount of benefits if they refuse a suitable job offer.
Biofuels Standard: Raised the standard for gasoline to E-15, offering the consumer a cheaper, cleaner fuel and boosting our agriculture economy. Waiver requirements allowed for small fuel retailers and funding provided to help with the high cost of infrastructure.
What we still have left to do: We will continue to balance the budget and look for ways to cut taxes while at the same time adequately fund Iowa’s spending priorities. Our goals are leaving more money in Iowans’ pockets, creating an economic environment favorable for growth, and making Iowa more economically competitive with other states.
When I campaigned for office I said I would work for: greater local control of schools by parents and families, protection for students from indoctrination, and expanded educational choice
What we did:
Elimination of Open Enrollment Deadline: Offers families more flexibility in choosing their child’s public school by removing the March 1st deadline for open enrollment from one public school to another. Families can change their child’s public school at any time during the year.
Women’s and Girls’ Sports: Preserves female sports by ensuring women’s and girls’ sports teams are based on biological sex as marked on the original birth certificate. Ensures competition remains fair for females and maintains the purpose for which girls’ sports was created, which was to create a level playing field for girls.
What we still have left to do: We need more control put back in the hands of parents in our schools. The more options we can offer parents the better student needs will be met and the better education for our students will be. Support is as strong for school choice as I’ve ever seen in the legislature, especially regarding the governor’s proposed educational grant program for low-to-moderate-income families, but more needs to be done.
Better enforcement needs to be implemented for those schools that persist in violating the prohibition on teaching and promoting critical race theory ideas. We need to repeal the exemption from pornography laws for schools and remove sexually explicit materials from school libraries. There needs to be preservation of access to bathrooms, shower facilities, and locker rooms based on biological sex as well as ending the promotion of sexual orientation/gender identity confusion in schools where this is an issue. We need to ensure that parents are informed of their child’s activity at school where this has become a problem.
If state-mandated academic standards are here to stay and it appears that they are, then different science standards should be adopted, ones that teach straight academic science and leave out left-leaning biases of environmental activism, man-made climate change, and evolutionary ideas regarding the earth’s beginnings.
The same is true for social studies standards: get rid of the leftist ideas regarding our nation’s history such as group identity politics, systemic racism, and globalism, and teach American history with a value and emphasis placed on American citizenship, our founding values and ideals such as liberty, protection of individual rights, limited government, personal responsibility, and all those values and ideals that make our nation unique and special.
Part 2 of the 2022 legislative accomplishments will be in next week’s newsletter.